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Bobby & Jens: Rick Zabel

The Israel Start-Up Nation rider: ‘I always tried to go my own way’ while earning a spot in the pro peloton on his own merits as a leadout man.

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Forging your own path in life is a challenge that everyone faces. Things become a little more complicated when your dad is an internationally famous athlete who won six consecutive points classifications in the Tour de France. But despite the long shadow of his father’s career, Rick Zabel has found his own identity in life and as a professional cyclist.

“I never tried to equal my dad or anything,” said the 27-year-old cyclist who rides for Israel Start-Up Nation. “I always tried to go my own way.” Earning a spot in the pro peloton on the merits of his own riding as a lead-out man, and moonlighting as a podcast host of his own show “Plan Z,” he has certainly found his way.

On this week’s episode of Bobby & Jens, Rick takes us through his life, from growing up as a regular on the podium of the Tour de France in Paris with his father Erik, through today, along the way reflecting on carrying around a famous name and how it has impacted his life—in sometimes surprising ways.

“It made me a better bike racer when I was young because…all the other kids wanted to beat me,” he recalled. But he was never forced or predestined to become a cyclist—it’s very much a path he chose and has worked hard for, on his own.

Later in the episode, Rick discusses his relationship with the retiring Andre Greipel and his other influences in cycling and recounts the moment in his cycling career that made him the proudest.

Listen to the latest episode of Bobby & Jens for the full conversation.

Bobby & Jens is a weekly VeloNews podcast brought to you by Zwift. It stars former pros Bobby Julich and Jens Voigt and features conversations with top athletes, coaches, emerging stars, and other newsmakers from the wide world of cycling. A new episode drops every Friday. Subscribe now wherever you get your podcasts.

Send your questions to BobbyandJens@VeloNews.com or Tweet @bobbyandjens.